What is the difference between sushi, niguiri, maki and sashimi?

The main difference between sashimi, niguiri and maki is that only the last two are types of sushi, but with different ingredients.

Niguiri is a specific type of sushi made with a slice of raw fish over pressed rice and made with vinegar. Maki is a type of sushi that is made in a roll form, and also contains seaweed and other ingredients, and sashimi refers to only slices of fresh fish or raw meat, not being a type of sushi.

Niguiri Maki Sashimi
What is? Niguiri is a type of sushi made with a slice of raw fish over pressed rice. Maki is a type of sushi that is wrapped in seaweed. Sashimi is a thinly sliced ​​raw meat – usually fish, like salmon or tuna. Sashimi is served without rice.
Is it sushi? Yes. Yes. Do not.
Ingredients Traditionally made only with fish and rice. You can have several ingredients in addition to fish and rice, such as vegetables. Just raw meat.
Fish preparation Mainly raw fish. Raw or cooked fish. Always raw.
Is it always fish? Fish and other seafood, such as shrimp, octopus and squid, but never meat. It can be done with other types of meat. No, sashimi can be made with thin slices of meat, such as beef and chicken.
Do you have rice? Yes. Yes. Do not.
Meaning Niguiri in Japanese means two fingers (ni = two, giri = fingers).

It gets its name because of the rice, which must be of a very specific portion and fits the boss’s “two fingers” when pressing.

Maki means “curled”, which refers to the way it is done. Sashimi is a Japanese term for perforated meat (Sashi = pierced, mi = meat).


Niguiri consists of two ingredients: fish and a special rice made with vinegar.

This type of sushi is known for its deep flavor and for having fish as its main ingredient. The niguiri has the bottom part made with rice, which is pressed in an oval shape, and a portion of raw fish on top of it. Usually this fish can be salmon, mackerel or tuna.

An interesting fact is that niguiri is usually eaten with the hands.


Maki is the most popular type of sushi, and there are 4 more well-known variations:

Makimono: It is the most famous type of maki. This type of sushi is made with seaweed on the outside and rice on the inside, along with various fillings that can be raw fish, other meats, as well as different types of vegetables and sauces.

Uramaki: It’s like a makimono in reverse. This type of sushi has the rice on the outside instead of the seaweed, which is wrapped around the filling.

Hosomaki: It is similar to the makimono, but it is much thinner. If it has a tuna filling it is called tekkamaki and kappamaki if it has a cucumber filling.

Futomaki: This type of maki has a much larger size, and usually has fish, leaves or roots as a filling.


While the different types of sushi include rice made with vinegar, sashimi is simply the thin strips of meat, or fresh fish like salmon or tuna.

Saltwater fish is mainly used, as freshwater fish tend to have parasites that can cause intestinal infections.


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